playdatabase.com was born of a theatre-loverís dream, an act of hubris, and one instant messenger client.
Alora Cheek was getting her Masters in Theatre at Michigan State University when she directed her first play and was faced with the challenge: "What play am I going to do?" With a cast of young folks to choose from, a tiny theatre in the round, an even tinier budget and no costumes or sets to re-use, she discovered that finding an doable play was a hair-pulling challenge. No wonder so many people did the same shows over and over. "Someone needs to make a database where you can search for plays based on your criteria", she decreed from the library stacks, eyes crossed from skimming through dozens of plays by hand.
Move forward in time seven years to Los Angeles where Jim Sabo enters the scene. Jim and Alora met through a mutual internet job and a love of improv. (Start-up internet companies paying much more than theatres in those days.) Hearing Alora talking about her dream one night after a show Jim leaned over and said nonchalantly, ďOh, that would be easy."
From such hubris was playdatabase.com born.
Dinner turned into instant messaging, and instant messaging turned into an actual meeting. Notes were taken. Dry erase boards were marked up and erased. After half a day (and enough features for the first five versions), Alora headed back to San Diego. By the time she got there, Jim had the first prototype up and running.
The rest, as they say, is history
March 31, 2002 -- First meeting of the minds, first prototype
April 19, 2002 -- Total number of plays passes 5000
May 1, 2002 -- Search engine up and running for the first time
May 14, 2002 -- First user test results in: "This is fun!"
May 21, 2002 -- Monologue searching added
June 14, 2002 -- First legal paperwork signed
June 21, 2002 -- Official Incorporation of playdatabase.com
June 28, 2002 -- Rollover menu bar working!
July 8, 2002 -- Total number of plays passes 12000
July 9, 2002 -- playdatabase.com officially launched